Jan 3, 2019 10:26AM FarAwayToo wrote:
Hi Fritz, I am still working with an exercise physiologist that works as a PT. I see her once a week for an hour. She specializes in cancer patients, so she knows not only about physical aspects of recovery, but also understands our emotional state. In terms of mental health she helped me more than a therapist I saw several times throughout my treatment. My insurance covers up to 60 PT visits a year, but I have to go through re-certification process every 3 months with a different PT at the same center (only she has the power to say I still need PT). I'm having my next re-certification in two weeks, and I hope she can find reasons I still need to see my physiologist, because she is like a breath of fresh air to me.
I wasn't as good about exercising as you before DX, and I found her to be a huge help in getting and staying on track. This was especially important for the upper body strength, because things were (are still) tricky after BMX with expanders and under the pectoral implant. Are you planning reconstruction after your BMX? I wish I researched mine a little more. I'm still suffering from lack of strength in my chest due to the pectoral muscle being cut. It's a lot better than it was 9 months ago when I started my program with my PT, but I'm very far from being even remotely the same in the upper body/arm strength, and I wasn't a weight lifter or even a fitness fanatic. I'm finally to the point where I can close a heavy back gate of my SUV without wincing in pain, but I still can't swim without discomfort.
Oh, and my doctors didn't recommend anyone specifically, I found this lady by the recommendation from a naturopathic doctor I went to see once after finishing chemo and surgery. At the very minimum, I suggest having a PT lined up to help you with initial recovery from BMX and regaining your range of motion. I saw someone else 3 weeks post surgery, but my range of motion was pretty good even before then. It wasn't until 2 months post surgery that I found my darling PT and started an overall fitness program with her.
Also, not a bad idea to have someone knowledgeable about lymphedema in case you get it. I didn't, but had some cording. I saw a massage therapist at the same center, and she helped quite a bit. These specialists can help you pick out a sleeve. I have one just in case, even though I don't have LE. I take it with me on high elevation hikes (I live in Colorado, and in summer I hiked above 10,000 ft a few times, also routinely do hikes above 6,000 ft) and when I fly. Most of the time I forget to put it on, but I'm glad to have it with me. I only felt some sensations once, during a very strenuous hike at 11,000 ft, and that was when I left my sleeve at home. Luckily, no long term consequences, but I will be better prepared next time.